“I’m pleased with our first day of classes numbers—they certainly align with our expectations,” said Alison Pickrell, assistant vice-provost, strategic enrolment management. “It is still early in the year, however, we anticipate that by the time we reach the end of the academic year our total numbers will meet or exceed the 24,571 student count we saw in the previous year.”
As of the first day of classes, on September 6, self-declared Aboriginal student enrolment went up by 7 per cent compared to this time last year, with a total of 2,401. International student enrolment remained stable at 2,210 (an increase of 0.8 per cent).
“Like other Canadian post-secondary institutions have experienced, our new international student numbers have grown this year,” said Pickrell. “First and foremost, I believe more international students are coming to Canada because of the country’s reputation for offering high-quality education, but also because we are seen to be a safe, inclusive and welcoming country.
“As a member of Canada’s U15 group of top Canadian research universities, the U of S is an attractive choice for many students.”
Pickrell’s role as assistant vice-provost, strategic enrolment management is a new position that officially started on August 1. With 30 years of provincial, national and international student affairs experience, Pickrell said she looks forward to being part of the development of a series of new enrolment action plans and implementing strategies.
Pickrell said the university’s enrolment has been growing slightly for a number of years, and now is the time to plan for strategic growth using a multi-pronged approach.
“Together with college leadership we will look at where we have high quality applicants, but not enough capacity to accept them all,” said Pickrell. “We will also work with colleges to explore and develop new academic programs that draw students who are looking for programs that we don’t currently offer. There is also potential for the U of S to expand its program offerings off campus and outside of the country.”
Pickrell said recruiting new students is only half the battle. Retaining students, meaning they continue their studies year after year until graduation, is crucial to enrolment.
“Like all post-secondary institutions, we are always looking at ways to improve our retention and program completion rates,” said Pickrell. “I am proud to report that it looks like the work we are doing to support and engage students is having a positive impact.”
A more detailed analysis of enrolment trends will be completed in mid-October when the university officially records fall term enrolment data.
For more first-day-of-classes enrolment information, view the university’s September 6 enrolment snapshot.
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University of Saskatchewan